REAL REMNANT: A History of Early Andy Paley

Andy Paley grew up in Boston and formed a band called Catfish Black with future Modern Lovers members Jerry Harrison (keyboards) and Ernie Brooks (drums). They renamed themselves the Sidewinders, added Billy Squier, and recorded an album produced by Lenny Kaye in the mid-70s. Cuts from the album, which is well worth hearing, are on YouTube, but you have to dig.

The highlight here is at the two-minute mark, when we see a closeup of the band on the back of the jacket and Andy plays an extended solo. They were regulars at Max’s Kansas City, Andy played guitar on Elliott Murphy’s Night Lights, and disappeared leaving little more than a trace.

After the Sidewinders, Andy and his brother Jonathan formed the Paley Brothers, signed with Sire and released an album produced by Springsteen’s engineer at the time, Jimmy Iovine. It’s a fantastic elpee, a staple on the Kreutzer turntable back in those days of collegiate love and squalor.

The brothers also recorded a cover of Richie Valens’ Come On Let’s Go, with the Ramones for the Rock and Roll High School soundtrack.

The Paley’s went on tour, opening in arenas for the similarly hair-styled Shaun Cassidy, but did not break out with the teenyboppers and did break up.

Andy played guitar on the Modern Lovers’ Back In Your Life album, which features Abdul and Cleopatra, and that live show at the Peppermint Lounge I posted last night (which reminded me of Andy and his career–which I’ve augmented by looking things up).

In the early 80s I was visiting a friend’s family’s big country house a little bit upstate in New York. A few of us went out to play croquet and ran into a long-haired guy knocking a ball around. I recognized Andy from his album cover, and we played. He was a friend of one of the cousins, I think. He was writing songs and producing Jonathan Richman records. Nice guy, though he loved to send people. But don’t we all?

I think he appreciated meeting some fans.

3 thoughts on “REAL REMNANT: A History of Early Andy Paley

  1. Never knew Billy Squier was involved in the early NYC scene. But I saw his pre-fame band Piper open up for someone along the way.

    And I don’t even like Billy Squier, but I like this “best ever Billy Squier cover” by a band called The Unband (Billy Squier even makes a cameo in the video), who did a pretty great one-off album. The bass player also wrote a great one-off book called “Gentlemanly Repose” which is pretty abstract, but still enjoyable for a schmuck like me, and explains in great detail why they lasted just one album. A Renaissance man like Peter would get much more out of it than I did.

  2. A really excellent Paley Brothers compilation came out last year called (simply enough) The Complete Recordings. Very highly recommended.

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